Challenging: testing one's abilities; demanding, testing, taxing, exacting; stretching, exciting, stimulating, inspiring; difficult, tough, hard, formidable, onerous, arduous, strenuous, grueling.
It was the reason there was only room for four of the challengers at the table for our hot chocolate tasting (the other two were set-up at the kitchen counter).
And, it was there for the whole of the gingerbread house disaster.
In fact, it was there before the gingerbread was even baked. Truth be told, it's been on our table for more than a week - ever since I pulled it out to work on with my mother during her pre-Christmas visit.
Laura Marx Fitzgerald's Under the Egg - in which the painter's work features heavily. A house sale/fail, and packing for a move kept us from doing it then, but Christmastime seemed like an even better time to piece together the Madonna and Child, anyway.
EuroGraphics (non-affiliate link) has a number of very lovely puzzles to choose from, and an entire section of "fine art" prints to choose from. Putting together a puzzle is a fantastic way to really focus in on, and get to know a painting - but, be warned! If the rest of the EuroGraphics puzzles are as difficult as this one - then be prepared for a lot of slow, and painstaking piecing.
It's not the difficulty of the design, or the number of pieces, but the fact that they are oddly shaped pieces. So oddly shaped, that it takes three, or four to come together to fill in space for what appears to be made for one normal puzzle piece. I like puzzles, and occasionally I like a really difficult puzzle - one more challenging than the average floor puzzle I do with the children - one to remind me I'm not as smart as I can start to think I am, when comparing myself to the intelligence of my normal companions - a group of children.
This "Small Cowper Madonna" fit the bill, and was perfect for passing a stormy winter evening, or two...